Uber submits patent to detect drunken app users

The patent application describes artificial intelligence that learns how you typically use the Uber app, so it can better spot unusual behavior.

The ride-sharing giant has published a patent application to identify drunk passengers.

The patent mentions the app keeping track of how many typos a user makes, how accurate they are when (attempting) to hit the various links and buttons, their walking speed, and how long it takes to request a ride. The time of day and pickup location might also be a factor-someone trying to order a ride at 2:30 in the morning from somewhere packed with bars and nightclubs is unlikely to be sober.

Uber likely sees this as a potential way to reduce friction points between passengers and drivers. "Incidents, such as safety incidents and personal conflict incidents, can occasionally occur when users and/or providers behave uncharacteristically", the patent description says.

"We are always exploring ways that our technology can help improve the Uber experience for riders and drivers", the spokesperson said.

Passengers also might not be given the option to partake in a shared ride, based on their state. According to a recent CNN investigation, at least 103 Uber drivers have been accused of sexually assaulting or abusing passengers in just the past four years.

But, of course, notifying a driver beforehand could set a few liabilities in motion: Like, as The Verge hypothesizes, motivating a driver to decline picking up Sloshy McSlosherson, which, to the wasted, could be code for, "You're too drunk, drive home instead". Numerous police reports and court documents involved passengers who were inebriated or drinking before getting into an Uber.

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